First Reserve Army Liaison Team stands up
October 25, 2006
WIESBADEN, Germany - As the U.S. Army restructures its force, the 7th Army Reserve Command transitions, along with the Active Component, by establishing the first Army Reserve Army Liaison Team (ALT).
On Oct. 14, the 317th Support Center (Rear Area Operations Center (RAOC)) was inactivated and its organizational colors retired in a ceremony on Wiesbaden Army Airfield. The 317th Soldiers then activated as the 209th Army Liaison Team (ALT) by uncasing the new organizational colors.
The 317th RAOC was activated on Jan. 16, 1989, and was mobilized three times during its 17 years in existence. Its Soldiers have proudly served in Operations Desert Storm, Joint Endeavor, and Iraqi Freedom. The unit was mobilized as part of V Corps for the war in Iraq. It returned from Iraq and was demobilized on Feb. 21, 2004.
While the 317th RAOC was deployed, plans were made to inactivate the unit and activate an Army Liaison Team (ALT) in its place. This led to the transformation of the 317th RAOC into the 209th ALT.
"The Army Reserve must transition to remain relevant to the Active Component and a need was identified for units to support joint and coalition forces with U.S. Army Liaison Teams," said Lt. Col. Steve Zephir, commander, 209th ALT.
"As the 317th RAOC, the unit provided force protection during Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Master Sgt. Kenneth Hills, operations sergeant for the 209th ALT. "It was the first 7th ARCOM unit to cross the border into Iraq."
After its return the unit has focused on mission essential training, exercise support, and preparation for reorganization into the 209th ALT.
The 209th ALT mission is to maintain a fully trained and ready Army Liaison Team in support of V Corps or 7th Army. On order, it deploys and conducts liaison activities during full spectrum operations or during stability and support operations.
"As the first 7th ARCOM unit to transform, we intend to establish a standard for smooth transition to our new force structure," said Zephir.
"The unit now has the opportunity to be a link between the U.S. and foreign armies," said Hills. "The 209th Army Liaison Team would likely be attached to a multinational forces headquarters to provide a liaison and process information."
There are currently 13 Army Liaison Teams. All of the teams, besides the 209th ALT, are in the Army National Guard. All 12 other teams have been activated at least once, performing a variety of liaison missions in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
"This is the one of the first Army Liaison Teams in the Army Reserve," said Zephir. "As a start in a new lineage, we have to remain ready to deploy."